Part of the reason why we go an a trip is to get a glimpse of the culture of the place were going. We believe there's always something new to learn from all the people we meet and places we visit.
To ensure that we have exposure to as many locals as possible. We decided to take a land tour instead of the typical Island hopping. Not only we'll get a chance to see the city landscape, it would also enable us to meet people from different walks of life.
Weeks before the trip, I already have a confirmed itinerary from JC Tour travels. I chose them because they offer the cheapest yet high rated tours in Phuket. They also have added perks such as free Airport Pick up.
Priced at 1,980 Baht per person and 1,000 Baht for my Kid. I paid a total of 4,960 Baht equivalent to $209 SGD
Our itinerary includes
One thing I need to highlight though is the fact that this a group tour. That means you travel and do the activities together with a group of other tourist. This I think is the reason why it's so cheap. However, based on personal experience, Group tours is not suited for everyone. If your the type who loves meeting new people, don't mind waiting and having people chatting on your background while your trying to sleep, then go for it! But If you get annoyed with what I just mentioned, then forget the savings and spare yourself and others the trouble and get a private tour instead. My husband and I loved it, I'm not saying it's perfect but we just chose to look at the bright side and tried to busy ourselves when our inconsiderate tour mates made us wait in the Van two times.
WHITE WATER RAFTING
Don't expect too much because it's just artificial current. Every now and then, the rest of the rafts would stop in an area and wait for the dam to be open to get that strong current going.
What I really enjoyed the most is the fact that there's so many of you doing the rafting at the same time. You can hear laughter around you. If your mischievous who don't mind creating enemies, you can even splash water to other tourist for fun! The drivers of the raft does that a lot. Also depending on your sense of adventure, the drivers would sometimes intentionally bump you into other rafts or on big rocks which for me is really fun. But expect lesser adventure if you have a kid with you as safety comes first. It lasted for almost an hour but minus the waiting for the dam to open, I think it's a good 35 minutes of fun rafting!
Next stop was the National park where you would do the remainder of the activities. It'll take approximately 35 minutes to get here from the rafting venue. At first I felt guilty riding this animal but after seeing that they are in good condition, the feeling quickly faded. My son really enjoyed it specially the part where we fed them bananas.
Only part I didn't like is when our elephant driver offered to have our picture taken with the elephant for 200 baht. I wouldn't mind if he had offered it nicely, but instead, he transformed into this cold, almost angry driver saying, 200 or no photo at all. With that, I got even more annoyed and refuse to pay until I realize that we're not moving anymore because he's taking photos of other tourist with their elephants. So I tried to assess the situation if my 200 Baht and pride is more important than having a souvenir to look at years from now. In the end, I agreed to pay and it was all worth it. We got some really nice photos and our driver, transformed to his friendly self again and even made a necklace and bracelet for my son out of a palm leaf.
MONKEY AND ELEPHANT SHOW
The Elephant and Monkey show was very short but entertaining. The animals were well trained and friendly. They were also picture ready (for the right price of 20 baht). Upon handing them the bill, the elephant would immediately put his trunk on your head for a cute photo. The monkey on the other hand would sit immediately on your lap and strike a pose. Sam really didn't have time to react or move as the monkey is already comfortably seated on his lap.
TREK TO WATERFALLS
I like that the trek going to the falls is short but raw. The slippery rocks, mud, tall trees and the bright sun rays is good exposure for my son to be out in the wild. I was just disappointed to find a spring instead of a falls when we reach the top. Water was very cold and feels refreshing. My son enjoyed a little dip into the water but was cut short when the tourist guide told us we need to head back to our van.
Our last adventure was the ATV ride. Again just man made slopes so don't expect too much. But at least it's safe specially those riding with their kids. You can also consider it a long ride. Approximately 40 minutes being on this thing is enough to get any kid excited and proud of his father driving a big, scary motorbike!
Last note but also very important is the food. There's buffet lunch and fruit snack included in the package but I don't think anyone would really consider it tasty, even the locals. 3 different dishes of vegetables (Veggie tempura, Sweet and sour veg, Stir fried morning glory or I call it stir fry kangkong), Chicken with cashew nut sauce (not much chicken though), scrambled egg and the most watery spaghetti I have ever seen. There's rice and pineapple and some sort of dessert. I wouldn't say it taste bad, it just doesn't taste good. So I think anyone would still be able to eat it considering the exhausting activities you just had but I doubt it that you would come back for more.
I think you can sense how much we enjoyed this tour. I felt I got what I paid for and more. Specially since we met two new friends along the way. We achieved our goal of exposing ourselves to the culture of the people of Thailand and got to realized how warm and nice people they are... which is why my husband and I already decided to go back to Phuket next year!
Veronica, also known as Gene is a passionate mother, wife, career woman, event planner, artist, adventurer, fashionista, and many more.